Another John McCain advisor under fire for lobbying work
Just when John McCain was trying to show the world -- well, at least the part that will vote come November -- that he's a take-charge kind of guy, yet another one of his advisors is getting smacked around for his lobbying work.
The reports have been cropping up in several places, and you can absorb the details there, but from a campaign standpoint this looks to be part of a migraine that just won't end. McCain has been persistently bedeviled by staff hires counter to his efforts to push the image of himself as a maverick reformer.
The issue this time is advisor Randy Scheunemann and his business partner, who apparently lobbied McCain or his staff dozens of times on behalf of -- and getting paid by -- Georgia. As the Associated Press summed it up: "On April 17, a month and a half after Scheunemann stopped working for Georgia, his partner signed a $200,000 agreement with the Georgian government. The deal added to an arrangement that brought in more than $800,000 to the two-man firm from 2004 to mid-2007. For the duration of the campaign, Scheunemann is taking a leave of absence from the firm."
McCain, of course, has warned Russia that its actions in Georgia could cost it "the benefits they enjoy from being part of the civilized world," and has called for the deployment of international peacekeepers in the region. His staunch defense of Georgia -- regardless of how the showdown came about -- raises questions about the possible conflict of interest of Scheunemann, one of McCain's top foreign policy advisors.
You'll remember McCain's own concerns about perceptions of conflicts for the lobbyists on his staff led to an very public internal purge in May. Apparently, McCain missed one.
-- Scott Martelle